PowerMax vRO Plug-in v1.1 – SRDF workflows

The next release of the vRO PowerMax plug-in is already here (officially the vRO Plug-in for PowerMax). If you missed the inaugural release, I wrote about it previously at this link. The primary feature of this release is SRDF support. Before getting into that, let’s start with the “upgrade” process and do some other housekeeping (If this is your first install, check out my previous post I linked to above for install instructions.)

A quick note before proceeding. When I install vRO, I always do so in the embedded format as part of vRA so my screenshots show that interface. It is perfectly acceptable, however, to use the plug-in without vRA. If all you are interested in is executing the workflows directly, or if you are a developer you may have no need for vRA. I use vRA since in my experience this is how customers use vRO.

Upgrade

I’m using upgrade loosely here because the way that VMware handles plug-in upgrades for vRO is that it replaces the package, rather than upgrading it. Unfortunately, in replacing the package VMware does not remove all the existing workflows and actions prior to installing the new package. In the case of our plug-in, this is undesirable as the remnants of the 1.0 plug-in will produce inconsistencies in the new plug-in. Therefore we need to delete the 1.0 plug-in first, before installing 1.1. The high-level steps which are detailed in the Product and User Guides are:

  • First, be sure under Tools -> User Preferences that the checkbox for “Delete non empty folder permitted” is checked, otherwise you will not be able to clean up all objects.
  • Delete the plug-in in the vRO Control Center.
  • Delete the package with contents. To delete the package from the vRO Client, switch to Design view, in the Packages tab, right-click com.dell.integration.vro and select Delete element with content.
  • Delete the top-level Dell EMC PowerMax workflow folder, right-click Dell EMC PowerMax folder and select Delete.
  • Delete all action modules, in the Action tab, right-click the folder com.dell.integration.vro.xxx and select Delete. You must delete all the folders that begin with com.dell.integration.vro.xxx to remove all the remnants of the plug-in.

Once the 1.0 plug-in is removed, you can install the 1.1 plug-in, per the previous post’s instructions.

vRealize Suite 7.6 support

Version 1.1 of the plug-in supports the latest vRealize release, 7.6. vRO 7.6 offers a new HTML 5 client, but retains the Java legacy client. You can see the two links in the image below.

Part of the reason the legacy client is remaining for now is that not all capabilities are available in the HTML 5 client. Reminds me of the conversion of the vSphere Client. It is probably safe to assume Java will go away at some point. The interface is obviously cleaner.

As this interface has no folders, you can find the PowerMax workflows by searching for dell.


For more information on the new client, check out the vRO documentation.

Generate documentation

If you are interested in getting all the detail of the plugin workflows (schema, source code) you can pull that directly from vRO. This one you need to do in the Java client. Navigate to the Dell EMC PowerMax folder, right-click on it, then select Generate documentation. You will get a PDF containing all the workflows.

OK I think that’s it so let’s talk about features.

SRDF workflows

As I noted at the top, our big change in this release is the addition of SRDF workflows. You’ll find these under the PowerMax SRDF Operations folder. There are also a few other new workflows such as listing RDF pairs and RDF groups,

The workflows are for all the standard RDF commands you need to create and manage replication in your VMware environment. As you look through the workflows each one has an Advanced Options tab where you can specify some parameters to pass to the command as so for the Establish workflow:


These parameters are True or False. Note that you will not find any ability to pass the parameter force or symforce with these workflows which of course are not recommended anyway.

Along with the standard RDF commands we offer a more complex workflow, Create Storage Group SRDF Protection. This will do the same thing that the Protect button does in Unisphere for a storage group. Per the description, This workflow will:

  • Create a storage group on the remote array with the supplied name.
  • For each volume in the source storage group, a corresponding target volume will be created in the remote storage group.
  • The SRDF pairs will be created for the given replication mode and supplied option flags.
  • The user will be able to either specify an existing RDF group or create a new RDF group or let the underlying implementation decide.

I did a quick demo of the workflow. I show the  storage group in Unisphere without SRDF protection, then execute the workflow, and finally show the result in Unisphere. The callouts will walk you through the relatively simple process.

Modification to other workflows

In addition to the SRDF workflows, changes were made to existing workflows to support RDF. For example, Expand Volume was modified to add a parameter for the RDF group. Here I am expanding the same volume I used in the previous demo. Be aware that the workflow will not automatically detect the remote RDF group, you are expected to know that.

Expand SRDF/Metro pair

Recall that we do not support expansion of Active pairs (SRDF/Metro) online *yet*, however you may have noticed we now have a Move SRDF Pairs workflow. If you read one of my previous posts about expanding SRDF/Metro pairs, you know that moving pairs is one of the essential steps to getting around expansion of Active pairs. I’ve done a recreation of the storage side of the procedure (no VMware steps). You’ll be able to follow along quite easily. One reminder, when you move SRDF pairs from one group to another you cannot leave the source group empty. You will see I have 2 pairs in my SRDF group but I am only moving one pair. I must do one at a time.

Restrictions

Besides my comment that we do not allow –force and –symforce, we also do not permit the creation of SRDF/Star configurations. It is a complicated configuration and right now does not lend itself well to the workflow format. I’ve tested other 3-site setups without issue, however. Our workflows are not designed to block anything, we execute the calls just as we receive them so any errors would be directly from the REST.

Futures

You can expect more features coming later this year for PowerMax – that may include zoning for some of the more common switches. As always, I’ll keep you apprised.

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